Go Newark. Live Green. Love Pink.

"He who knows his WHY in life can live through any HOW" - Victor Frankl

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sustainability Is a Processes Not a Switch

"Credibility is Key" hit the nail on the head with the question, "...can you really claim to be aiming for sustainability if your fundamental business model is unsustainable?"

The simple answer is 'of course not.' Green-washing is ever present with companies like Clorox producing 'Green" options but not changing the formulas to their traditional brands. As mentioned in an earlier post, GM and DuPoint are on top toxicity lists.

But, what we have to realize is that sustainability is a process. It's the process of breaking out of old habits and adapting brand new methods that are completely opposite from our routines. For large corporations this means either a). waiting for a more cost effective way to do business b). becoming a pioneer and taking the initial loss for the long-term ROI.

This is not an easy choice at all. While they are thinking about A or B, the corporations' "greenwashed" contributions to sustainability actually makes the complicated answer ABSOLUTELY. Let's face it, we have come to depend on corporate brands in a 'stamp of approval' way. If these companies are now Greening their habits-even if it's faux Green, they are sending a very large message to the non-greened general population that sustainability is the right way to go.

Why Don't You Get It Yet? Pt. 1

Ok. Here it is straight.

There are Environmental Justice Organization’s (EJOs) on the battlefield, working for change and changing some minds down in Washington and in YOUR neighborhood. These are not your crazy tree-huggers; these are logic guided socio-politico economic strategists, who have figured out how to create a NEW financial system based on American productivity and environmental savvy. These EJO’s and enviro-professionals are pioneers of the Green Collar society.

So.....the concept is really not that hard to get right? I don’t think so. The question now becomes, how will YOU increase YOUR productivity? What ways can you better your environment?

Please…remember the ENVIRONMENT is NOT just outside! It is the area where you work, pick up your children, go on a date, and celebrate a birthday. Wouldn’t you like the areas where you most…CHILL, be just a little bit nicer? A little bit cleaner? Just a bit more….sustainable?

Think about it....

from the hand of...


Monday, December 22, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Message from Van Jones

Van Jones founding President of Green for All, asks that we submit a letter to our congressman (those who will be in office during Barack Obama's presidency) to pass The Green Jobs Act, which provides Green jobs training and living wage opportunities for millions of Americans:

For many, this holiday season will be tough. But Congress could give a terrific present to thousands who desperately need work - by fully funding the Green Jobs Act.

Congress is deciding right now what to include in the economic “stimulus and recovery” package it will pass in the new year. This stimulus has the potential to create good, green jobs for America - but only if Congress includes full funding for the Green Jobs Act.

Please help us convince our national leaders to fund the Green Jobs Act as part of America’s rescue package.

The Green Jobs Act
The Green Jobs Act will create green pathways out of poverty in this country. Working with allies, Green For All got the program included in the Energy Bill of 2007. Bush signed the program into law last December. But he failed to include a penny for it in his 2008 budget proposal.

Congress can finally jumpstart this desperately needed program by dedicating $250 million or more in the economic stimulus bill.

The Green Jobs Act will help approximately 25,000 people a year get training in green trades. Trainees could then get employed installing solar panels, weatherizing and retrofitting buildings, working in the wind industry and doing other important work.

Please tell your congressperson to act now.

The Need
Many people in our communities are between jobs now. Some are coming home from wars - or prisons. They deserve an economic future in the only part of the economy likely to grow soon: the green energy sector.

There is a lot of TALK about green jobs. But there is only one authorized federal program designed to provide training for those jobs: The Green Jobs Act. It needs full funding.

President-elect Barack Obama is committed to a clean energy transformation. Let’s expand the number of people who can benefit from the jobs and investment that will flow from the green economy revolution.

Help us convince Congress to do the right thing by sending a letter TODAY. Thanks.


Van Jones
Green For All

Monday, December 15, 2008

South Wards “Eagle-bots” Compete to Connect Climate to Community and Score Big in Newark

The Eagle-Bots, the robotics team at George Washington Carver Elementary School (GWC) & Bruce Street School for the Deaf in Newark, NJ, presented the Urban Heat Island Affect to an audience of peers on Friday, December 5, 2008 as prerequisite to their Saturday morning participation in FIRST Lego League's Climate Connections Challenge. This was GWC's first entry.

Shelanda Duncan, Wally Mizan-Young, Terrell Woods, Al-Quan Kane, Alianijah Slade, Dasia Boykin, Rykeea Jahnke are first time participants in the annual competition, which took place Saturday, December 6, 2008 at the NJIT athletics center in Newark. The FIRST challenge incorporates three components: The Project, the Community and the Game, where participants research and analyze a global problem and present solutions to their community and a panel of judges in addition to constructing a pre-programmed robot that must complete obstacle course tasks.

Belinda Poindexter, Robotics Coach, guided the seven students’ journey. From programming the
robot to articulating presentation rhetoric, Mrs. Poindexter directed the Eagle-Bots through the ten week process that prepared them to present the facts of Urban Heat Island Effect in Newark to their sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classmates in addition to a special guest presenter on that Friday.

As part of the Green Jobs Now National Day of Action, Renaldo M. DaSilva, President & CEO of Building Green Solutions, LLC (BGS), a Newark-based general contracting company, lead the first Cool Roof installation on Level I Bakery, a landmark establishment on Bergen Street in Newark. “When I heard about Mrs. Singleton’s bakery getting a new roof that was supposed to help reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect, I thought it would be great to include that information in our presentation,” said Shelanda Duncan 8th grade Eagle-Bot. Shelanda contacted The Brickerati, a local PR agency that covered the event to get some questions answered about the installation for her presentation. Shelanda’s query led to Renaldo DaSilva’s visit to the school to address further questions himself.

Part of Building Green Solutions' community outreach, is an initiative called Saving Joshua’s Generation, a program designed to help urban youth understand the necessity of the Green Collar movement and the role their participation will play in a better tomorrow. “The Eagle-Bots are amazing and their understanding of Heat Island is commendable to say the least. It's projects and competitions like FIRST Lego that must continue in order to provide ways for our children to engage in creating a healthier and Greener future,” comments DaSilva.

The December 6 competition included team presentations of the selected global climate issue, as well as three elimination rounds in two and a half minute intervals. In addition to dynamically representing their school in competitiveness, character and sportsmanship, the Eagle-Bots came in first place in the “Best Use of Resources” category.

The Eagle-Bots dedicated their trophy to their principal, Dr. Winston Jackson, Ms. Poindexter, the South Ward community and their supporters. The hard-earned prize is currently on display at George Washington Carver Elementary/Bruce Street School for all to see.

PUMA Signs as Founding Partner and Official Sponsor of Women's Professional Soccer

WESTFORD, MA & SAN FRANCISCO, CA (December 15, 2008) - Today, global sportlifestyle brand PUMA and Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) announced an exclusive partnership making PUMA an official founding partner of WPS and an official sponsor of all WPS franchises. The multi-year partnership makes PUMA the official sport and lifestyle apparel, footwear and equipment supplier of WPS, including the official WPS Match Ball. In addition to on-field performance wear, PUMA will outfit the athletes and teams at all WPS-related events, activities and WPS appearances in sportlifestyle apparel. This partnership kicks off with the inaugural season in April 2009 and will see PUMA collaborating with WPS to enhance the game of women's soccer and will act as the foundation in the PUMA Women's category.

"PUMA has built up a strong momentum in women's soccer over the past 10 years collaborating closely with pioneering partners that have redefined the game of a global and local stage. Today, we are proud to be one of the founding partners of Women's Professional Soccer in what promises to be a new pioneering chapter for women's soccer," said PUMA Chairman & CEO Jochen Zeitz. "The WPS partnership provides PUMA with a perfect platform to reinforce the brand's positioning as the most desirable sportlifestyle brand in the world as well as underline our continued commitment to women's sports."

With the WPS partnership, PUMA further underlines its commitment to women's soccer where it already has long-term partnerships with the likes of two-time FIFA™ World Player of the Year Marta da Silva of Brazil, who was drafted by the WPS Los Angeles Sol, U.S. National Team star Leslie Osborne, who will be playing for WPS in the Bay Area, defender Heather Mitts of the WPS
Boston Breakers, and several Club teams in Europe including Swedish champion's Umea IK, UEFA Women's Cup Champions in 2003 and 2004.
"To have PUMA, the world's leading sportlifestyle brand, as a founding partner in Women's Professional Soccer is a great endorsement for our league," said Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. "We are proud to have PUMA's commitment to support, supply and grow the league and we recognize the creative, stylish and unique ways PUMA will promote WPS and women's soccer on the whole."

PUMA will have a presence in each market and stadiums for WPS games, as well as the WPS All-Star Game, WPS playoffs and WPS Championship game. PUMA and WPS have agreed to cross-promotional marketing opportunities via national print media, online media and television. This agreement also marks PUMA as an official licensee of the WPS for items including on field and sportlifestyle apparel, footwear and a wide variety of accessories.

Today's PUMA announcement coincides with the WPS league announcement about the 2009 WPS Draft, which will be held January 16, 2009 at the NSCAA Convention in St. Louis. As a founding partner of WPS, PUMA will begin immediate activation at the 2009 WPS Draft next month, hosting league interviews in its booth, providing product and visuals at the draft day ceremonies, and running other promotional activities around the occasion of the league's first annual draft.

PUMA is a leader in the game of soccer with a European portfolio of five National Teams, including current FIFA World Cup™ holders Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Czech Republic. In addition to being the official supplier to these European teams, PUMA has a long standing relationship with 11 African soccer Federations including the current CAF African Cup of Nations™ holders, Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon, Angola, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and Namibia. In the U.S., PUMA has worked with all-star Major League Soccer athletes such as Matt Reis, Brian Ching and Dwayne De Rosario.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Better Tomorrow Starts Today in Newark, NJ

“When turtles and frogs feel better, I feel better. That’s why I want to be a pet surgeon.” How’s that for an answer to the when I grow up cliché? In teal scrubs, Ty Tiana Townes, a kindergartner at George Washington Carver (GWC) Elementary School in Newark, NJ, hugged her mother closely and shared her dreams of tomorrow at the conclusion of the Picture Me Tomorrow Extravaganza. Ty Tiana was one of twenty-something GWC/Bruce Street School for the Deaf students dressed and ready for their future careers under the Newark City Hall Rotunda, on Monday, December 8th 2008.

Picture Me Tomorrow (PMT) is the brainchild of Weequahic Park Super Neighborhood Chairperson Brenda Toyloy, who is also Founding President of the Art of Survival Corporation, a Newark-based not-for-profit designed to empower youth by helping them realize and reach their dreams.

The PMT Extravaganza included a parade of “Career Go-Getters” at GWC/Bruce Street School as well as a talent show under the direction of Heather Kollar, Creative Director, in October this year. “Our youth realizing their gifts is their first step to moving towards careers, and more importantly making good decisions. It’s up to us as mentors to nourish that talent and highlight it as something important and valid,” says Kollar.

The Career Go-Getters presented song, dance, poetry, and interpretive music to City staff and community supporters. Perhaps the most exciting surprise for them, besides the news cameras, was Mayor Cory Booker. Booker welcomed the mini-professionals to City Hall and participated in what seemed to be a shouting match of welcoming cheer between him and the Career Go-Getters.

He then gave a speech in Booker style that spoke of futures created by the audience and how acting today starts the journey of realizing their dreams of tomorrow. Following suit, the students performed their PMT pledge in unison - their promise to “…embrace hard work, explore possibilities and celebrate the journey to achieve [their] dreams.”

The "Picture Me Tomorrow” program encourages student achievement and career exploration through parental involvement, community engagement, and mentorship alliances. As such, the Art of Survival Corporation (TAOS) has also developed a mentorship component in association with The Newark Mentoring Coalition under the development of TAOS Mentorship Director, Patrice A. Theard.

South Ward’s Weequahic High School was selected by Newark Public Schools as pilot location for the long-term mentorship program. The pilot is scheduled to launch early next year. Its success could lead to a district-wide Picture Me Tomorrow initiative.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Newark Youth Give Nat Turner Park a Mosaic Touch

In June of 2008, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and City of Newark broke ground for Nat Turner Park, a formerly abandoned open space in the Springfield section of the Central Ward. The nine acre space will service over 7,000 residents due to generous involvement of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Victoria Foundation and three community schools.

Eighteenth Avenue, Cleveland Elementary and Central High schools were part of the Master Plan Steering Committee in 2005, charged with outlining a design for the cities park. Organized as a competition, the top twenty essentials drummed up by the students were included in the final blue print. The winning list includes an amphitheatre, community event space, multi-purpose athletic field and playground. Construction is underway and scheduled to open in April 2009.

Paula Jones and Naketa Johnson are eighth grade students at Cleveland Elementary School, and were part of the original design team three years ago. They along with peers from all three schools participated in a project at Central High School yesterday that will etch their place in Newark history. "I thought we were going to come in and learn more about the park," began Johnson, "but this was different, I'd like to come back and do this again." Under the creative direction of Katherine Hackl, the students designed Mosaic tiles that will be incorporated into the park's amphitheater steps. With music as the only thematic restraint, the hour and a half workshop yielded fabulous results.

Engaged by The Trust For Public Land’s, Parks for People-Newark initiative, Katherine Hackl of Swan Street Studio in Lambertville, NJ is a ceramic and pottery artist. Her handcrafted work and community collaborations adore open spaces across the state of New Jersey. “This is a fun way to get kids and community involved in public art,” commented Hackl, “This is my first project in Newark, and I am happy to be here.” The 100 plus tiles will return to Hackl’s studio to be fired and glazed. Once dried, they will be ready for installation in April.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

No Such Thing as "Clean Coals"

As Green buzz grows, pseudo-sustainable solutions will spread as well. A current thematic falsehood, which even made its way into campaign rhetoric, is the notion of “clean-coal” energy. “Clean coal energy “is advertised to release less carbon in the atmosphere when it burns, making it a viable competitor of current energy alternatives. While McCain saw this talking point as a well- informed rejoinder, the unfortunate truth is that there is no such thing as clean burning coals. Brian Hardwick of the Reality Coalition stated, “Until U.S. coal power plants capture and store their carbon dioxide emissions, they cannot be considered "clean."

Environmental Justice Organizations (EJO’s) like The Reality Coalition and We Can Solve It are pushing legislation to initiate mandates that will reduce dependency on carbon output and incentivizes energy alternatives like wind and solar power. Wind and solar power are natural resources in abundance. Innovative implementation methods are in used globally to take advantage of this opportunity.

Friday, December 5, 2008

George Washington Carver, Bruce St. School for the Deaf, Team Academy Spotlight

Newark, NJ – December 4th, 2008 - On December 8th, 2008 from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM, 75 to 100 elementary school students in career-aspiring garb will parade Newark City Hall, touring offices of City Hall Executives and learning about their careers, career paths and daily responsibilities, the students will showcase inherent talents in the "Picture Me Tomorrow Extravaganza." The Art of Survival Corporation and the Weequahic Park Super Neighborhood Community Council selected George Washington Carver (GWC) Elementary School, Bruce Street School for the Deaf, and Team Academy Middle School to participate in their pilot program. "Picture Me Tomorrow Extravaganza" is the first phase of the long-term "Picture Me Tomorrow Mentoring Program" designed to help elementary school students prepare for their future careers with support from community mentors while increasing parental involvement.

A powerful and motivational address by Mayor Cory A. Booker will kick-off the final piece of the extravaganza. This celebration of the student's journey ahead includes a talent show. Students from the participating schools have been sharing their dreams for tomorrow in class, as part of this new program. The opportunity for them to realize those dreams will be inspired by high-energy student performances, keynote speeches from community role models and the influx of mentoring organizations galvanized by Newark’s Mentoring Coalition (NMC).

Super Neighborhood Community Covenant designed by Mayor Cory A. Booker improves the fabric of Newark through community stakeholder participation, collaboration, and empowerment. The Weequahic Park SNCC, also Newark Now's "Super Neighborhood of the Year," is one of ten covenants steering agendas of change in Newark.

"I applaud Brenda, the Weequahic Park Super Neighborhood Community Council, and The Art of Survival Corporation members for their diligent efforts to bring the "Picture Me Tomorrow Extravaganza" to fruition. This exciting mentoring program mobilizes our community in such a powerful way and resonates to our dedicated residents, businesses, and supporters that cultivating our children's talents and academic success is a top priority," proclaims Mayor Booker.

The Picture Me Tomorrow concept is the brainchild of Weequahic Park SNCC Chairperson Brenda Toyloy, who is also founder of The Art of Survival Corporation. Ms. Toyloy's vision to see Newark's youth develop a sense of ownership of their futures and community sits on their ability to discover their inherent talents.

Ms. Toyloy comments, "We are excited as we begin a new tradition in Newark. Picture Me Tomorrow is an opportunity to engage our students in a fun way, to envision their future, and to dress up in costumes that reflect the careers they're dreaming about. We believe we can effectuate positive proliferating change through mentoring and increased parental involvement in NPS and the super neighborhood.

I applaud Mayor Booker he is a true visionary. The tone of his administration was set early, within four months of being elected Mayor, Mayor Booker began challenging and empowering community stakeholders to accomplish all they desire through the Super Neighborhood Community Covenant initiative. In that instant, “the Mayoral signing of Super Neighborhood Covenants,” the socio-political fabric of Newark’s landscape changed. With Mayor Booker’s full support, we at Weequahic Park SNCC push forward with solutions we design collectively. We have received full support and recognition by the Mayor says Ms Toyloy. We salute the Southward Councilman Oscar S. James II for his continued support and Newark Public Schools’ Superintendent, Dr. Clifford B. Janey for opening the doors.

The "Picture Me Tomorrow Extravaganza" encourages student achievement and career exploration through parental involvement, community engagement, and mentoring alliances. Mentoring provides guidance, support, and direct linkages to career fields, truly ensuring that no child is left behind. The Art of Survival Corporation/Picture Me Tomorrow is a member of The Newark Mentoring Coalition. For media opportunities contact: Rose Farias, Newark City Hall (973) 733-3818 (201) 407-5733 or Patrice Theard, The Art of Survival Corp/Picture Me Tomorrow (323) 828-6549.